Book Review: The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter

Title: The Good Daughter

Author: Karin Slaughter

Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date: 13 July 2017 (epub) or 3 May 2018 (paperback)


Two girls are forced into the woods at gunpoint. One runs for her life. One is left behind…

Twenty-eight years ago, Charlotte and Samantha Quinn’s happy small-town family life was torn apart by a terrifying attack on their family home. It left their mother dead. It left their father – Pikeville’s notorious defence attorney – devastated. And it left the family fractured beyond repair, consumed by secrets from that terrible night.

Twenty-eight years later, and Charlie has followed in her father’s footsteps to become a lawyer herself – the ideal good daughter. But when violence comes to Pikeville again – and a shocking tragedy leave the whole town traumatised – Charlie is plunged into a nightmare. Not only is she the first witness on the scene, but it’s a case that unleashes the terrible memories she’s spent so long trying to suppress. Because the shocking truth about the crime that destroyed her family nearly thirty years ago won’t stay buried forever…


The Good Daughter is a gripping tale of brutality, violence and terror. It is also an exploration of family dysfunction and dynamics.
Set in Pikeville, Georgia – small town America – Rusty Quinn is the local public defender, universally hated for his work with the criminal elements of the community. Rusty is one of those lawyers with a strong sense of justice – he truly believes in the American justice system and in the right to a fair trial.
The book begins in 1989 when Rusty’s teenage daughters, Sam and Charlie, have their life ripped apart by a home invasion which leaves their mother, Gamma, dead. Charlie and Sam both survive the event but remain scarred by their experiences, with Sam cutting almost all ties with her family and settling in New York.
Skipping forward twenty-eight years, Charlie is witness to a school shooting. A principle and an 8 year old child lay dead. To the outrage of the local community, Rusty takes on the case of defending the shooter. When events take an unexpected turn, Sam finds herself reluctantly returning to her home town, and to her estranged family, to provide some assistance with the case.

The Good Daughter is well-written and has a goo paced to it, with a good solid plot and a confident writing style. The author has obviously put much thought into the development of the story and to the different threads running through the book, resulting in a great flow to the tale. The book itself is quite lengthy. However, it you asked me how to cut the tale down I really wouldn’t know where to begin. Every paragraph is relevant to the story. 

The characterisation in this novel is also very well thought-out – from hard-drinking and hard-smoking humorous Rusty to the bickering daughters, Sam and Charlie. Whilst none of the characters are hugely likable, they are all interesting and credible. The book delves into the family’s damaged relationship and it is fascinating to see the dynamics that exist between the three characters. It is interesting to see how their personalities were shaped by those tragic events in 1989. It is the family aspect of the story which also adds some well-placed flashes of humour to the tale.

The Good Daughter is packed full of twists and turns – it is both a gripping legal thriller and an insightful exploration of family dynamics. A dark, bold and violent thriller which will captivate the reader’s attention –  I can certainly see why The Good Daughter became such an instant bestseller. 

About the Author

Karin Slaughter is the No.1 internationally-bestselling author of more than a dozen novels, including the Will Trent and Grant County series and the instant New York Times bestseller Cop Town and Pretty Girls. There are more than thirty-five million copies of her books in print around the world. She lives in Atlanta.


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